2017 has already witnessed impressive changes at University College of the North (UCN). The post-secondary institution is reorienting its approach to the delivery of trades training. The current Faculty of Trades and Technology has been renamed the “College of Trades and Technology” (CTT). Mirroring the successful model used with the Northern Manitoba Mining Academy, UCN will appoint a strategic council for CTT composed of industry and community members to help guide programming to be offered through the new college.

“The best people to help UCN meet labour force needs in the north are those who work in industries and live in communities in the north,” said Rob Penner, the UCN executive who will be responsible for CTT. “The new college model will help to ensure that industry and communities are directly involved in aligning UCN’s trades training activities with social and economic needs in the north,” Penner said.

The college will incorporate programming currently offered by UCN’s Faculty of Trades and Technology, and will also work closely with UCN’s Community Based Services division and other faculties and departments to help ensure that a flexible array of base funded and cost-recovery course and program opportunities will be offered to address the diverse labour market needs in the north.

UCN recognizes the importance of skilled trades-people and technicians/technologists to the development of northern Manitoba and has made industrial skills and trades one of the four priority areas within its 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. For the College of Trades and Technology, our commitment is to develop and deliver programming and systems to ensure that:

  • Students, both young and old, will:
    • Have clear roadmaps taking them from their current levels of education to successful preparation for work, college, university, or apprenticeships;
    • See UCN as a conduit enabling students to progress along their respective educational and career road maps.
  • Employers, both small and large, will:
    • Have a ready source of high quality employees at all levels of qualification from entry level to skilled to journeyperson and professional;
    • Have a recognized clearing-house where their needs are heard and reacted to, especially in times when change is accelerating.
  • Communities, both small and large, will:
    • Reap the benefits of good paying jobs that translate into citizens that give back to their respective communities;
    • Have tax bases that are built on industries, small and large, that are viable because entrepreneurs and a highly skilled workforce are present and continuously being produced.

Starting in September 2017 UCN’s Faculty of Arts, Business and Science is offering our new Community Economic Development diploma at our two main campuses. The two-year diploma program provides graduates with the knowledge and skills required for a range of employment and self-employment opportunities. Graduates may be found in northern community projects, sustainable development programs, programs to support and conserve traditional and indigenous knowledge, and land claims negotiation teams, youth development programs and community wellness development. Other opportunities include economic development practitioner positions, community development positions and First Nations and northern community administration positions.

The Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Business, and Science, Harvey Briggs, is passionate about what waits for those looking at higher education in the North. Dean Briggs says “we offer numerous options for students in both community college and university studies. We offer diplomas in our Business and Natural Resource Management Technician programs, college certificates in our Business program, and degrees in Aboriginal and Northern Studies (ANS), Business, English, History, Social Science, and Science”. UCN’s first-year university programming offers a number of other streams for our students through agreements with partner universities in Manitoba including Nursing, Social Work, and most recently, Engineering. In 2017 we created a new set of opportunities for Canadian community college students to earn transfer credits in our degree programs (up to 15 credits for a college certificate, up to 30 credits for a two-year diploma, and up to 45 credits for a three-year diploma); these transfer credits can be used to earn a degree in ANS, English, History, Social Science, or Science. In addition, FABS is integrated with our Education program at UCN (Kenanow) to provide multiple options for pursuing an Education degree.

All of our programs offer students small classes, a commitment to the inclusion of Aboriginal and Northern content, and a respect for Indigenous ways of learning. Our faculty make themselves available to students and we work within our programs to develop successful strategies tailored to the needs of our students. We offer programming that is unique by virtue of its applicability to the needs of Aboriginal and Northern communities. Presently we are in the development phase of a diploma in Aboriginal and Northern Tourism and Hospitality Management (which aligns with the province’s new Northern tourism development program) and a degree in Aboriginal Community Economic and Social Development.

The Faculty of Arts, Business, and Science at UCN offers programming that is diverse, targeted to prepare students for opportunities in the North, and which has an emphasis on the inclusion of Aboriginal knowledge. Our certificates, diplomas, and degrees offer students the opportunity to master their field of study and the possibility for seamless movement into other academic programs at UCN and with our community college and university partners.

With a mandate to serve northern and Aboriginal Manitobans, UCN has main campuses in The Pas and Thompson, and operates 12 regional centres in communities throughout the north. UCN enrolls approximately 2,400 students per year in a range of adult learning, certificate, diploma and undergraduate degree programs.


For more information on these programs and others please visit our website at ucn.ca, email info@ucn.ca or call us toll-free, 866- 677-6450 (Thompson Campus) or 866-627- 8500 (The Pas Campus).